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Kaljulaid at Davos: Even a small part of GDP helps Ukraine

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: R2

Even a small percentage of a country's GDP can help Ukraine achieve big things, Former President Kersti Kaljulaid (2016-2021) told experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. She said helping Ukraine was the most important point to get across.

"Looking at the numbers, the billions seem high, but the Estonian Ministry of Defense has done a good analysis – the combined GDP of all the Ramstein countries is €47 trillion. Consequently, we are talking about tens of percentages, or 0.2 percent over two years," Kaljulaid told "R2 Päev " explaining the amount of money countries need to allocate.

"A big part of my job was to tell as many people as possible that, while a billion sounds like a big number, let's look at the size of our own GDPs. Who has won a war before spending less than 0.5 percent of their GDP? If we were to spend even 0.5 percent of GDP, Russia would already be in a very difficult situation, and this war would have to end," she said.

The former president said Estonia's argument reached countries participating in the forum.

"The funniest part was when economist Nouriel Roubini said that we have done everything to support Ukraine, but the result is still a draw, so now we have to negotiate. When we started to look at the macro picture, he was surprised that the GDP needed was so low. It's through these moments of surprise that we manage to convince people," Kaljulaid said.

The majority of participants were not on the side of peace talks, she said, but those in favor were connected primarily to the U.S. European leaders, seeing U.S. insecurity, understand a lot must be done to support Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Ukrainian Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Vadym Skibitsky also took part in the forum trying to convince the world to support its cause.

Kaljulaid said hopefully the message will help to change people's minds.

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Editor: Valner Väino, Helen Wright

Source: "R2 Day", interviewed by Katrin Aarma

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